Devotionals

Let’s stay connected! Here is a quirky and heartfelt collection of greetings, devotionals, poetry, songs and writings from your Oceanview Family around town. You are encouraged to add your greeting to this page. Keep it simple. Email your 4 minutes or less, youTube or similar link or text message (email) to kimwendt.oceanviewumc@gmail.com.

Words for a Hectic Day - from Brother Lawrence

“The difficulties of life do not have to be unbearable. It is the way we look at them - through faith or unbelief - that makes them seem so. We must be convinced that our Father is full of love for us and that He only permits trials to come our way for our own good.

Let us occupy ourselves entirely in knowing God. The more we know Him, the more we will desire to know Him. As love increases with knowledge, the more we know God, the more we will truly love Him. We will learn to love Him equally in times of distress or in times of great joy.”

― Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God


Ever have a super hectic day? The kind when you can't quite seem to catch a deep breath before it's on to the next, "super important" thing?
Yeah. That was today. And then, in the midst of that, a friend calls to say that a family member has died. 


Suddenly, I have a whole new focus and understanding. Suddenly, I... who had no time for lunch, for anything....I spend an hour on the phone with my friend. What "super important" things do we discuss? The way to end world hunger? How to stop the out-of-control wildfires in California, Australia and now, Florida? How to bring about World Peace? The ultimate cure for COVID-19? No. Of course not.


We talk about love, friendship, togetherness and dying well - for an hour. 


The difficulties of life do not have to be unbearable. It is the way we look at them - through faith or unbelief - that makes them seem so.

Love God equally in times of distress or in times of great joy. 


It is a time of great joy.


- Kim Wendt

How Do We Understand Suffering From Disaster? - Writings from the United Methodist Church

Sometimes the devastation is overwhelming. The waters rise and the rain won’t stop. The ground shakes beneath our feet, or the wind blows the roofs off homes. Disease spreads, seemingly unstoppable, causing fear and anxiety, pain and loss. The problems seem insurmountable, the destruction beyond our comprehension.


When tragedy strikes, it is common for us to ask why. We turn to our faith for answers, but answers don’t come easily. We wrestle with making sense of the suffering we witness, in light of our Christian faith. Questions are left unanswered. The tragedy is not explained.


In a sermon titled “The Promise of Understanding,” John Wesley, founder of the Methodist movement, says we may never know. He writes,

“[W]e cannot say why God suffered evil to have a place in his creation; why he, who is so infinitely good himself, who made all things ‘very good,’ and who rejoices in the good of all his creatures, permitted what is so entirely contrary to his own nature, and so destructive of his noblest works. ‘Why are sin and its attendant pain in the world?’ has been a question ever since the world began; and the world will probably end before human understandings have answered it with any certainty” (section 2.1).


The short answer is: We do not know why disease, pandemics, natural disasters, and other suffering are part of our world.


Did God do this?

While Wesley admits we cannot know the complete answer, he clearly states that suffering does not come from God. God is “infinitely good,” Wesley writes, “made all things good,” and “rejoices in the good of all his creatures.”


Our good God does not send suffering. According to Wesley, it is “entirely contrary to [God’s] own nature, and so destructive of his noblest works.” Suffering is not punishment for sin or a judgment from God. We suffer, and the world suffers, because we are human and part of a system of processes and a physical environment where things go wrong.


God with us

In another sermon titled “On Divine Providence,” Wesley again writes of God’s love for humanity and that God desires good for us. He then adds how God is always with us, even in the midst of tragedy. Wesley shares,


More Food for Thought

‘Jesus wept’: Finding God’s comfort when times are bad

God's role in times of crisis

A Prayer for a World Facing the Coronavirus

Where is God when... (Compass Podcast)

Finding Strength to Overcome

“[God] hath expressly declared, that as his ‘eyes are over all the earth’ [see Psalm 34:15; 83:18], so he ‘is loving to every man, and his mercy is over all his works’ [Psalm 145:9]. Consequently, he is concerned every moment for what befalls every creature upon earth; and more especially for everything that befalls any of the children of men. It is hard, indeed, to comprehend this; nay, it is hard to believe it, considering the complicated wickedness, and the complicated misery, which we see on every side. But believe it we must” (paragraph 13).


This is good news. While we cannot fully comprehend the why, we know that God is with those who suffer. Note that Wesley says God cares for “every creature.” We are never alone in our suffering.

In our experience, we know that tragedies happen to Christians and non-Christians alike. As Jesus said, “[God] makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45). The good news we proclaim is that God is with us through it all.


A different question

When Jesus and his disciples encounter a man born blind, the disciples ask Jesus the question we are asking. “Rabbi, who sinned so that he was born blind, this man or his parents?” (John 9:2). Jesus, why does seemingly arbitrary suffering occur?


Jesus’ answer, “Neither he nor his parents,” tells us that the disciples are asking the wrong question. “This happened,” Jesus continues, “so that God’s mighty works might be displayed in him” (John 9:3). Jesus asserts that it is in our response to suffering that God is found, in moments of everyday grace and in grand and sweeping gestures of care and solidarity with the suffering. God’s mighty works are found in hospitals and nursing homes and shelters.


Jesus is calling his disciples and us to a ministry. We are to join Jesus in displaying God’s mighty works. We are an extension of God’s presence in the midst of the tragedy as we come beside those who are suffering in ways we don’t comprehend. We are to be agents of healing, working to restore God’s order to people’s lives and communities. We are to be representatives of the day of resurrection to come, as we seek to rebuild and renew.


In our United Methodist congregations, we join together in these ministries. We assemble cleaning kits and work alongside those who shovel the muck from floodwaters from the floors of their homes. We rebuild homes. We stand in the gap alongside the suffering. We support our local food banks, take care of one another’s cars, visit those who are imprisoned, and so much more. We are also active in our communities, working to change systems that inflict suffering on people in our communities.


In the aftermath of tragedy, we give witness to the love of God. In our outpouring of support, we proclaim the value of every human life. When we send supplies through the United Methodist Committee on Relief, we witness to God’s provision. When medical professionals bind up wounds, Jesus is shown as a healer. When homes are rebuilt, we proclaim resurrection. As we grieve with those in mourning, we share the love of God.


We may not know why things happen, but we embrace the ministries of healing, renewal and reconciliation to which Jesus calls us, and in doing so, God’s mighty works are revealed.

Holy Saturday Devotional - Rev. Betty Kniss

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Pastor Emily's Stay Home and Carry On Weekly List

Keeping your soul in check during the sequestration of physical distance is important I’ll have a spiritual health tip for each week.

Activity: This week is Baking! My daughter and I are baking a 4 layered coconut cake that comes from my mothers handwritten family cookbook. Normally I would buy one.


TV series: MASH is on Hulu no commercials, no laugh track, just comedy amid war. Could be timely for how we are living now.  

Movie: Phenomenon with John Travolta in 1996 included with Showtime but available for purchase for $3-$4 from all the streaming services. If you purchase and watch check out this summary and Q and A by visiting the link below.

http://www.philfilms.utm.edu/1/phenomenon.htm


Book: Wonder by R.J. Palacio (Published in 2017 they made it into a movie too if you are not a reader. Worth the time to read the book. This story will change your perspective for the better and it is so well written.)


App of the Week: Insight Timer this is a great way to get off of the “hamster wheel”. It is essentially a meditation tool, there is free guided meditation for beginners, and ways to create timer with soothing chimes and gongs as well as ambient music and nature sounds. I use it for stretching after workouts and for reading for at least 12 minutes at night before bed.


Outtakes - Fun Things While Filming...

Joseph Farrar

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Easter, COVID-19 and the Contradiction of Resurrection Faith

An Easter Message from Bishop Ken Carter based on Matthew 28: 1-10 and Luke 24: 1-12 .

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April 9 Devotional with Rev. Betty

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From Rev. Betty Kniss: Yes, we will celebrate! A friend posted this and I have to agree.

After the President’s news conference was over, one of the reporters made the observation that for the first time in our nation’s history we won’t be celebrating Easter. Well let me tell you one thing, he’s wrong. We might not celebrate what Easter has become in that there may be no new clothes bought for that Sunday. We might not hide and hunt eggs in mass quantities. We may not travel home to attend church with our family. We might not see some folks at our worship services that we haven’t seen since Christmas, but we’re going to Celebrate Easter. As a matter of fact, every Sunday is Easter Sunday. Every time we assemble for worship, no matter how or where, we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Pilate couldn’t kill Him and the grave couldn’t hold Him. You think the Coronavirus is going to stop Easter. More people this year will hear the gospel than any other Easter before.

Easter is not just about special programs. It’s not about the trumpet call or the mass crowds. It’s the fact that we serve a living Savior who is still transforming lives today. Easter is not only about His resurrection, but our ability to rise with Him. Easter is about the hope of tomorrow and the gift of everlasting life. Yes indeed, we will celebrate. We’ll celebrate what God did for all of us at Calvary. How? By remembering Him. By loving Him. By worshiping Him. By praising Him. Easter for us is everyday. Let the celebration begin. Sing with me:

I serve a risen Savior, He's in the world today

I know that He is living, whatever men may say

I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer

And just the time I need Him He's always near

He lives (He lives), He lives (He lives), Christ Jesus lives today

He walks with me and talks with me

Along life's narrow way

He lives (He lives), He lives (He lives), Salvation to impart

You ask me how I know He lives?

He lives within my heart

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️


Pastor Emily’s Stay Home and Carry On Weekly List

Keeping your soul in check during the sequestration of physical distance is important I’ll have a spiritual health tip for each week.

Activity: This week it’s Fancy Fridays (get dressed up on Friday night. Set the table, light the candles, if you are living alone ask a friend to do the same and FaceTime or Zoom) See the rest of Pastor Emily's Weekly List... get on the email list. Leave a message for her at the church with your name and email.


Devotional from Rev. Betty: Easter isn't cancelled. We are just doing it in a different way this year. Jesus has always wanted us to celebrate his life and death by following him, by loving God and neighbor, by doing unto others as we would have them do unto us. That is truly celebrating Easter. Maybe this year when we aren't running around planning special Easter services and holy week activities we can have the time and state of mind to truly celebrate.


Pastor Emily’s Stay Home and Carry On Weekly List

“Keeping your soul in check during the sequestration of physical distance is important I’ll have a spiritual health tip for each week.” –Pastor Emily Denmark McGee

This week’s tip: Hand washing for at least 20-30 seconds. Long enough to sing the chorus of Great is Thy Faithfulness! “Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see; All I have needed Thy hand hath provided. Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!”

See more fun ideas, book, movie and TV show suggestions, etc. in Pastor Emily’s weekly email. Send your email address to emily@oceanviewumc.com to get on the weekly list.


Lockdown by Fr. Richard Hendricks

Yes there is fear.

Yes there is isolation.

Yes there is panic buying.

Yes there is sickness.

Yes there is even death.

But,

They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise

You can hear the birds again.

They say that after just a few weeks of quiet

The sky is no longer thick with fumes but blue and grey and clear.

They say that in the streets of Assisi

People are singing to each other across the empty squares,

Keeping their windows open so that those who are alone

May hear the sounds of family around them.

They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland

Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.

Today a young woman I know is busy spreading fliers with her number

Through the neighborhood so that the elders may have someone to call on.

Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples

Are preparing to welcome and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary.

All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting

All over the world people are looking at their neighbors in a new way

All over the world people are waking up to a new reality

To how big we really are.

To how little control we really have.

To what really matters.

To Love.

So we pray and we remember that:

Yes there is fear.

But there does not have to be hate.

Yes there is isolation.

But there does not have to be loneliness.

Yes there is panic buying.

But there does not have to be meanness.

Yes there is sickness.

But there does not have to be disease of the soul

Yes there is even death.

But there can always be a rebirth of love.

Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.

Today, breathe.

Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic

The birds are singing again

The sky is clearing, spring is coming,

And we are always encompassed by Love.

Open the windows of your soul

And though you may not be able to touch across the empty square,

Sing.

Fr. Richard Hendricks OFM March 13th 2020


Scott Hofmeister – Act Justly, Love Mercy Song

Daily Thoughts – A Devotional from Rev. Betty Kniss

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:4-9

As we have heard over and over the past few days we are in unprecedented times. However, we praise God that even when times are unprecedented we can find peace that surpasses understanding. We want you to know we are praying with and for you. If you have any prayer request please leave them in the comments. Rev Betty Kniss


March 21- Walk with Betty



What Brings Me Peace – Kim Wendt

Hi Oceanview Family! Everyone at the Wendt House in NPB is doing fine. (That’s my husband, Mark, and I … and four cats, 1 foster cat.) So far, we’ve shredded 20 years of old paperwork; cleaned out, fixed or re-purposed several boxes of old electronic gadgets. In between trips to the grocery store, checking on neighbors and family… the sewing room was cleaned and I began ‘taking’ online lessons with my ‘new to me’ violin. Yes, there is a pandemic raging – but I am peaceful! What is bringing me peace?

August 2016. There I am, high up on the ridge, working at our farm in Northern Maine. As you can see, the sky is getting very dark…very. That afternoon was sultry and ominously quiet. Even the birds were silent. Then the warning notices started: SEVERE WEATHER – TAKE SHELTER – SEVERE LIGHTING – POSSIBLE TORNADOES.

By 6:00 pm, the rail was torrential. Big, searing bolts of lightning were cracking down on the ridge. Some of the bolts were so near and so strong – the ground and house literally shook like it was an earthquake.

Inside the old house, I wondered how long before windows broke or before the house or barn were hit? How long before a lighting bolt sparked a fire in the dry timber of the ridge?

The storm stayed on the ridge into the night. I remember praying that God would watch over us all: the land, the birds and animals, the townsfolk, my Amish neighbors and me. Hours later, I finally fell asleep.

The next morning – the sun was out, birds and animals stirring – all was well. There were some scorched spots, sure, but all was well. So tonight I sit and think… God, watch over us all. Just watch over us all. And I know: all will be well. That assurance brings me peace.


Daily Thoughts – A Devotional from Rev. Betty Kniss

Psalms 139: 7-12 “I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night— but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.”

These are words of encouragement for hard times. There is no where we can go that God won’t be there. God is with us, our strength and help in times of trouble.